Jan 18 2018

Turkey making final preparations for Syria offensive

Turkey is making the final preparations for an attack on the Kurdish-controlled Syrian province of Afrin, but there are still Russian troops on the ground, pro-government newspaper Habertürk said.

Military forces and artillery batteries belonging to the Turkish armed forces have been placed at seven key points along the border, Habertürk said, with four groups of Free Syrian Army forces preparing to enter from the other side.

However, the newspaper said, diplomacy with Moscow is still ongoing, and whilst 61 Russian soldiers have retreated to their base, there are still 102 in the field.

Seven entry points have been identified into the town, Habertürk said, and Turkey’s border walls had been removed at twelve points to allow the operation to proceed without obstacle.

Negotiations were also taking place with two other rebel groups near Idlib to convince them to join the effort, it said.

However, the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were also reinforcing the area, bringing in 390 more soldiers over the past two months, the newspaper said.